It is easy to make someone cry – all you need to do is twist their emotions, pull their heartstrings. Or just slap them! (No, please don’t do that, it’s not a nice thing to do!!).
But to make someone laugh requires immense skill. We might change our opinions on what makes us cry. But something funny is funny at all times.
Telugu cinema has a rich tradition of comedy. In fact, in no other industry do you have such a reigning band of comedians. Not only do Telugu comedians enjoy money and fame, they also nail important parts in a film. Separate story-lines are crafted for them, they are welcomed with hoots and whistles.
Today, Ali, Brahmanandam and (late) MS Narayana are superstars in their own rights. But Telugu cinema has always been bejeweled with actors with such impeccable timing that they had their own story-lines, songs, and love stories weaved into the narrative especially for them.
Let’s have a look at the first ‘Fathers of Telugu Comedy’. Each of them had their own style and each of them had their golden period back then. Here are those outstanding comedians who laid a great foundation for some of our healthy lives now.
With over 400 movies to his credit, Padmanabham was one of those actors who had the privilege of legendary directors LV Prasad and KV Reddy designing characters exclusively for him. With Shavukaru and Pathala Bhairavi, he established himself as a comedian to be seen frequently with equal importance as the hero, heroine and villain. He even went on to direct 8 films through his career winning a Nandi award for Kathnayika Molla.
We might not see Relangi now, but he was one of those first few pages to Telugu comedy who had a distinct, inimitable style. His craze was such that people would expect a separate song for him. The Sundari Neevanti song with Savitri in Mayabazaar is a classic example of Relangi’s clout in the film industry back then.
He was among the first bunch of comedians who acted in over 200 films. It so happened that while he was playing the role of a magician in a movie, he did learn magic and later with many magic shows, he helped in the aid of educational and other voluntary organizations. Ramana Reddy’s story is a real life example of art being used to better people’s lives.
Known for comedy timing and his nasal voice, this famous side-kick to villains was the only relief for some laughter on the villain’s side. It was through Allu Ramalingiah that trend of comedy shifted to a ‘separate track’. His combination with Rao Gopal Rao is something that can never be waved away from a telugu movie lover’s mind.
For a better understanding of Raja Babu’s calibre, it will suffice to say that he was the Brahmanandam of the time. He had a hilarious sense of timing and had a distinct feature of pairing up with many ladies for his films. Rama Prabha was the prominent among them and they happened to be a hit pair too.